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Cannabis Dispensary Inspires Intense Debate In The Sunset District

One surefire way to get cannabis supporters and opponents arguing is to simply hold a meeting. That’s what planning commissioners realized on Thursday night, at a public forum wherein residents of San Francisco’s Sunset District debated the introduction of a medical cannabis dispensary in their area. The five-hour long heated discourse ended in the planning committee passing the measure to bring the Apothecarium dispensary to the Sunset. The vote was five to one, in favor of allowing the dispensary into the district.

Medical cannabis patients are thrilled at this development, but not everybody is so happy about it. During the hours-long debate session, things got pretty intense. The hallways outside of the chambers were packed with people, and reinforcements from the police department had to calm screaming matches between people on different sides of the issue.

Their outrage was not enough to sway the commissioners against the dispensary opening in the Sunset. The lone “no” vote came from commissioner Dennis Richards, who still thinks that the opposition “overplayed its hand.” Opponents of Apothecarium’s presence claimed that the dispensary will be the beginning of a downfall into homelessness, murder and vehicular crashes. “It became a circus — way over the top. I think that alienated some of the commissioners,” Richards said of the committee meeting.

Richards’ opposition comes from his belief that the city should first figure out how they intend to handle Proposition 64, which was the measure that legalized cannabis throughout the state. The planning department is poised to have a list of regulations and policies drafted by September to handle this very issue. One of the primary concerns that will be addressed is regarding whether or not medicinal dispensaries will be given first priority at converting to recreational pot stores-and what the details of that conversion process might be.

56% of the city’s population was in support of Proposition 64.

Photo by DeeMakMak

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